The first major electoral contest following any presidential election is the Virginia governor's race, and no less so this year given Barack Obama having been the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since 1964. But this year, the Obama magic may have worn off in the Old Dominion, with Republican Bob McDonnell showing a consistent lead over Democratic opponent Creigh Deeds and on target to end eight years of Democratic governors.
As we've documented, the Washington Post has done its best to drag down McDonnell's numbers and boost Deeds, namely by trumpeting a decades-old graduate thesis and hyping it as a potential game-changer in the race.
But today, when it came to a big snag in his campaign, the Post reported but buried an article that cast the Deeds campaign in a decidedly unfavorable light.
The bottom line: either Deeds lied to a police union or his campaign is incredibly inept. Or both.
It seems the Deeds gubernatorial campaign told two different law enforcement interest groups two conflicting positions on collective bargaining. Yet in reporting the story, the Post placed Rosalind S. Helderman's article on page 4 of the Metro section rather than page A1 or even the front page, page B1, of the Metro section.
She's the nation's first black female billionaire, a co-founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) whose political contributions skew heavily Democratic, and in 2005 she backed the now outgoing-Democratic Gov.Tim Kaine's bid for office. But now Sheila C. Johnson has crossed the aisle to endorse Republican Bob McDonnell in his bid to be Virginia's chief executive, arguing that he has a better grasp on economic issues than his Democratic opponent.
Yet in reporting the news of the endorsement, the Washington Post elected to leave any word of Johnson's endorsement from its Metro front page headline. Instead, the Post blandly offered readers this headline and subheader:
The other day I was driving behind a car with a “Friend of Tibet” Virginia license plate. That’s great and I’d like to be a “Friend” myself, but with the job and the family and cutting the lawn … Can I just become a “Facebook Friend of Tibet?” If so, am I entitled to the same preening as Tibet’s actual Friends?
It got me wondering whether we’d see “Free Iran” paraphernalia anytime soon, and whether we’d see it on the same Volvos and Priuses as those “Free Tibet” bumper stickers. Somehow I doubt it, since Obama could barely fit any “concern” for Iran among the puffs of “hope” and billows of “change.” If he doesn’t care, the media doesn’t care, and the bumper sticker-industrial complex can concentrate on that cuddly Dalai Lama.
Not that freeing Tibet isn’t desirable. It should be free. In fact, we should also help free China (and Cuba and North Korea, while we’re at it), and make sure that Taiwan remains free. You don’t see many bumper stickers about those countries, though. And small wonder – if they really expected anyone to care about their plight, they would have had the foresight to stock up on skinny bald guys in saffron robes.
For those who were shocked by Obama "faith" advisor Harry Knox knocking the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic men's group, as an "army of oppression," he is not alone. Gay activists are now taking pride in getting Knights charity drives crushed at supermarkets.
Metro Weekly, a D.C-based gay "news" magazine, honored a man for his "Storefront Stand" -- he harassed Knights of Columbus volunteers raising funds for the mentally disabled (usually with Tootsie Roll candies) outside a Safeway store in northern Virginia. Allison also succeeded in getting other Knights thrown off one Giant supermarket's property. To passers-by at Safeway, Brad Allison compared the Knights to the Ku Klux Klan: "It is a bit of an extreme point to be making, but I thought it was effective."
That's an especially uneducated taunt, considering the Klan was viciously anti-Catholic. Allison also lied to the public by claiming the Knights don't do charity work. Here's Will O'Bryan's account in Metro Weekly:
Normally I wouldn't find a local market television reporter joining a gubernatorial campaign worth a post on a national blog like NewsBusters, but in this case the candidate is a very well-known national figure: Terry McAuliffe, the former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee who also chaired Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign last year and is a long-time Friend of Bill.
Dave Hughes reported Monday, on his DCRTV blog, that Allyson Wilson, a reporter and sometime anchor on Washington, DC's Fox-owned WTTG-TV/DT, “is leaving to join Democrat Terry McAuliffe's campaign for governor of Virginia. She'll be his deputy press secretary. Wilson is a native Washingtonian and a graduate of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.”
The Seattle Times compiles what it calls "The Favor Factory," which it calls "A database of lawmakers, earmarks, and campaign giving."
One noteworthy congressman in the Favor Factory is Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA; picture at right is currently at his home page).
Moran's Favors Factory page for 2008 lists 29 earmarks totaling $40.6 million, and over $890,000 in capaign contributions from earmark recipients.
Recall that Nancy Pelosi promised "Fiscal Restraint If Democrats Win" in a July 2006 Wall street Journal interview about the congressional elections that would be taking place four months later (link is to cato.org, which excerpted the now unavailable WSJ report). She also told the Journal:
“Personally, myself, I’d get rid of all of them,” she said. “None of them is worth the skepticism, the cynicism the public has… and the fiscal irresponsibility of it.”
Rep. Moran begged to differ just one month earlier, using language he would hopefully avoid around the second-graders with whom he is pictured above (actual offensive four-letter word is at link), as reported by a local metro DC community newspaper, the Sun Gazette:
The top of Friday’s Metro section of The Washington Post touted the drag queen who became Homecoming Queen at George Mason University. The enthusiastic headline was "Work That Tiara, Boy!" Inside the Metro section, the headline was "Not Everyone Is Celebrating Glittering Moment of Inclusiveness."
The front page subhead noted the election sparked a "campus divide," but Annie Gowen’s story wasn’t really interested in the critics of Ryan Allen (drag queen name: Reann Ballslee). She began: "Spend time with George Mason University senior Ryan Allen and it's clear why he's a Big Man on Campus. He wears size 12 pumps."
Gowen and her Post editors see this issue as a happy tale of more respect for diversity and minorities:
Many see it as an expression of inclusiveness at a place where about one-third of the 30,000 students are minority. But others say it is an embarrassment at an inopportune time when Mason is trying to revamp its image from commuter school to distinguished institution of higher learning.
As part of the liberal media’s ongoing tributes to moderate Republicans and their shrinking role in the GOP, The Washington Post on Monday boosted the "legacy" of Sen. John Warner of Virginia, with the headline: "A Political Giant Takes His Leave: Warner Leaves Legacy, Void in Va. Delegation." Unsurprisingly, the Post and reporter Amy Gardner want Republicans to know that Sen. Warner wants them to put on their best bipartisan faces for President Obama:
More than ever, Warner warned, the nation's leaders must work together. "I would hope -- indeed I would urge my colleagues to give the maximum bipartisanship to help his team resolve these almost unprecedented problems facing this country."
Amy Gardner also used this occasion to wonder which Virginia Democrat would be the best nonpartisan centrist to fill the "void" of the "giant" GOP moderate:
The McCain campaign filed suit yesterday against Virginia in federal court to "force the state to count late-arriving overseas military ballots," reported the Associated Press in a November 3 story. While the Washington Post's Web site carries the 5-paragraph AP article, the paper's print edition this morning punted on running a separate follow-up article.
Instead the Post devoted a few paragraphs on the lawsuit inside a larger Metro section frontpager by staffer Anita Kumar about how the NAACP unsuccessfully filed suit to make "last-minute changes to Virginia's voting procedures in response to allegations" by the civil rights group "that the state is not prepared to handle the predicted historic voter turnout."
McCain's lawsuit garnered just five paragraphs, four of them at the tail end of the 23-paragraph article. The treatment of the McCain suit is not all that surprising. As we've noted before at NewsBusters, the Post tends to yawn over concern about disenfranchisement of military personnel casting overseas absentee ballots:
Two days ago I noted the downplayed coverage the Washington Post devoted to a Fairfax County, Va., registrar tossing aside military absentee ballots. Rokey Suleman II, a Democrat who had previously lived in Ohio and unsuccessfully ran for officer there, was alone among Old Dominion registrars in throwing aside military absentee ballots for lack of witness signatures and addresses.
While the mainstream media were not concerned, conservative blogs, RedState chief among them, led the charge to pressure Suleman to back down.
A few moments ago I received an e-mail from RedState Editor Erick Erickson declaring victory, noting that the Fairfax County Board of Elections has overruled Suleman (emphases Erickson's):
A Fairfax County registrar's attempts to disenfranchise soldiers voting by absentee ballot is one step closer to being reversed thanks to a legal opinion issued yesterday by Virginia Attorney General Robert McDonnell (R). Although the Old Dominion is a hard-fought battleground state in the 2008 presidential election and John Kerry-backing Fairfax County should be a true-blue source of Obama votes, the story was given just five brief paragraphs on the page four "Virginia Briefing" feature of the October 28 paper's Metro section.
The fact that the registrar, Rokey W. Suleman II, is a partisan Democrat who has worked hard to register inmates at the county jail was unreported in both Christian Davenport's Oct. 28 brief and his full October 27 online article. In fact, Suleman's name itself was missing from the print edition squib.
Washington Examiner staffer William C. Flook reported on October 8 about Suleman's efforts to register jail inmates to vote. While not illegal, his push to register misdemeanor convicts stands in stark contrast to his hair-splitting read of Virginia state law to toss out military absentee ballots for lack of a witness's address (emphases mine):
While taxpayer-funded librarians organize their self-congratulatory "Banned Books Week," all about their raging love for the First Amendment and the right to speak out, Michael Alison Chandler of the Washington Post was kind enough to notice on Friday that social conservatives have figured out that it's fun to shift the charge of "censorship" to the librarians that reject thousands of titles each year, perhaps with a little political and cultural bias in the process:
More than 40 students, many wearing black T-shirts stamped with the words "Closing Books Shuts Out Ideas," said they tried to donate more than 100 books about homosexuality to more than a dozen high school libraries in the past year. The initiative, organized by Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, was intended to add a conservative Christian perspective to shelves that the students said are stocked with "pro-gay" books.
Most of the books were turned down after school librarians said they did not meet school system standards.
The candidate of change, the shining proponent of a "new way" in national politics, says that you aren't allowed to bring a sign to his rally. So much for the right of free political speech. To add insult to injury, this rally was held at the publicly funded University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. So, now the government is lending the weight of its authority to squelch free speech. So, where is the hue and cry about this unAmerican activity? Did the media even note this heavy-handed policy?
But, it is all true nonetheless. The rally was held and weak-spined school officials bent over and meekly accepted the rules derived from the authoritarian penchant of the Obama campaign with its anti-first amendment proclivities. Some few small voices questioned this oppression of American rights, but for the most part no one seems to have noticed that Virginians had their Constitutional rights quashed that day. Shockingly, some even thought it was a good idea.
Virginia State Police chaplains can't invoke the name of Jesus Christ during department-sanctioned events.
But to the Associated Press and its reporter Bob Lewis, that's not the story. In all too typical traditional media fashion, and in what I believe is the wire service's first report on the controversy, Lewis decided that the real story is that Republican lawmakers are objecting to the ruling by the state's police superintendent, and to Governor Tim Kaine's agreement with it.
Before getting to what Lewis wrote, here is a local report on what has transpired, from Roanoke TV station WDBJ:
Six of 17 Virginia State Police Chaplains have resigned over a request they not reference Jesus Christ at public events.
Instead, they've been instructed by the Superintendent to offer non-denominational prayers, a decision made following a recent ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
But NBC/MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell has since apologized for her off-the-cuff remark from last Thursday. Reports TVNewser:
MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell apologized today for calling southwest Virginia, "real redneck" country. Toward the end of her 1pmET hour, she said, "I owe an apology to the good people of Bristol, Virginia for something stupid that I said."
Washington Post reporter/advocate Tim Craig (along with Michael D. Shear) led the newspaper’s incessant "Macaca"-wielding crusade against conservative Sen. George Allen in 2006. Now, on the heels of Sen. Jim Webb’s national-media tour for his new book "A Time to Fight," Craig is back to promote Sen. Webb as an attractive running mate for Barack Obama in an article headlined "Webb Would Be a Bold Choice for Obama’s No. 2."
Craig had a long list of positives, but the negatives were more fascinating. Craig reported one down side was "Webb remains relatively unvetted because much of the focus during the 2006 Senate race was on former senator George Allen (R-Va.)." The Post’s dynamic Democratic duo certainly failed to do that. Instead of a vetting, Webb was aggressively celebrated as a novelist, a scholar, and a tribune of the poor Scotch-Irish "redneck" folks of the South.
The Washington Post can't find a liberal label anywhere (merely the word "activist") to describe the boutique-left agenda of the Arlington (Virginia) County Board. They're "Targeting Smoking, Trans Fats, and Cars," says the Post headline on Kirstin Downey's story. How anti-car are they?
Board member Jay Fisette (D) will lead Arlington's effort to promote what Tejada called a "car-free diet." Fisette displayed a T-shirt with the slogan, "I lost 2,000 pounds in one day," and referred people to a county Web site, http://www.carfreediet.com, which calculates how much money people could save by getting rid of their car and how much weight they could lose.
Fisette also plans to promote a regional bike-sharing program, as some European cities have done.
Car-free diet? Who's proposed eating a car?
Fisette is usually celebrated by Post reporters for being openly gay.
SAN FRANCISCO — Brooke Brodack remembers her first online "hater."
Nearly two years ago, the person posted rude comments about a video she had posted on YouTube, says Brodack, 21, of San Francisco, whose videos show her lip-syncing and creating characters. "It was shocking to me. Why would someone want to be so mean for no reason?"
Why, indeed? Nasty comments, sometimes even death threats, have become ubiquitous on virtually any website that seeks to engage readers in discussion.
"Ur ugly u suk and u should die," says a typical comment beneath one of Brodack's many videos. Such vulgar messages have inspired heated discussions, and video responses, on YouTube.
Reporter Janet Kornblum later brought the topic around to how mainstream media Web sites have taken to banning comments after persistent problems:
Say you write for or edit the metro section of a major metropolitan newspaper and you have a juicy story of a local ex-mayor who was arrested for running a brothel. It's right on the heels of the Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) prostitution scandal and the politician in the local story in question was once a sheriff's deputy, clearly no stranger to anti-prostitution laws.
Party affiliation is just one more tidbit of information that couldn't hurt your readers, right?
It doesn’t seem to matter how small it is, a left-wing protest can always draw a national network TV camera. On CNN’s Newsroom program on Wednesday morning, the network founded by Ted "Call No One Foreign" Turner presented a northern Virginia controversy over illegal immigrants through a familiar lens -- highlighting a few hundred protesters charging racism in the supposedly outrageous demand that government officials have the right to inquire into the immigration status of potential illegal aliens in police custody.
A Republican proposal before the Prince William County Board, modified and softened after consulting with county police and legal counsel, was approved unanimously on Tuesday night – but mysteriously, the story by Brian Todd on Wednesday morning was never updated (it also ran late Tuesday). The Washington Post story from Nick Miroff on Wednesday is here. While CNN focused on the small group of protesters, it typically ignored how county supervisors voted unanimously with what they believed the majority of their constituents -- not a minority chanting for TV cameras -- wanted.
"As many political observers see it, [Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William] Howell is maturing into the leadership role he took on four years ago," wrote The Washington Post's Tim Craig in today's paper. And what exactly is developing the Republican speaker into an upstanding young chap?
Nothing more than a newfound willingness to raise taxes in the Old Dominion.
Here's the first two paragraphs of Craig's Metro section front pager:
President Bush visited a Micron Technology factory in Manassas, Virginia on Wednesday, about 35 miles from the White House. The Washington Post wouldn't have found much use to cover the visit -- unless there was something embarrassing. The caption on the front of the Thursday Prince William Extra section had it: "Bush made a canned crack about potholes in Manassas, despite arriving by helicopter at the Micron campus."
Bush joked with the mayor of Manassas about fixing the potholes, a throw-away gibe. But reporter Christy Goodman spent a good chunk of her article on the Micron visit focused on Bush's rude "canned wisecrack." The mayor told the Post he wanted to tell Bush "we don't have potholes in Manassas." Baloney. I live about a mile west of the Micron plant, and a year or two ago, I lost a tire due to a pothole near that factory at the intersection of Wellington Road and Godwin Drive (pothole since fixed). Here's how Goodman chronicled Bush's insensitivity:
The Washington Post published no preview story for the March for Life on Monday, despite its massive annual size. But it did have room on the front page of the Metro section to review "Macaca" and how Virginia Republicans "might" (the Post hopes) be ruined in state elections this fall for their insensitivity.
On Page B-4, the Post did have a traffic diagram with the headline "Streets to Close for Antiabortion March." The March is rebutted right underneath the diagram, listing ''ABORTION RIGHTS EVENTS." They reported Planned Parenthood will "toast the Roe vs. Wade anniversary with a benefit tonight featuring actress Kathleen Turner," and NARAL Pro-Choice America "plans a benefit Thursday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel."
On the front page of the Metro section was a story by Macaca specialist Tim Craig headlined "Offensive GOP Words Might Speak Louder Than Va. Transit Deal." It had the typical Post thesis that social conservatives (the "far right") are destroying the Virginia GOP:
If a Democratic uttered something even close to this the media would be all over it like white on rice:
“White rednecks” who “didn’t show up to vote for us” partly cost GOPers their cong. majorities, Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) told fellow Republicans today. And Putnam, seeking the post of GOP conference chair, chided ex-Chair J.C. Watts (R-OK) for ruining the conference’s ability to serve its members.
Three Republicans in the room independently confirmed to the Hotline the substance and context of Putnam’s remarks.
Wednesday’s Washington Post drew an uproar in rural Virginia when the Style section made unfunny jokes about rural Virginia being a place of drug labs, Cracker Barrel, the NRA, and "freshly killed venison," while Northern Virginia liked urbane things, like "Alfred, Lord Tennyson." Libby Copeland’s syrupy tribute to James Webb in that section Wednesday presented him as a wonderful match for lovers of both venison and Tennyson. The title was "Don’t Call Him Redneck: James Webb Hates the Expression, But Is Very Proud of the Culture."
The most notable part was Webb’s "towel-head" expression for Arabs. In describing screenwriting and typical movie villains to Copeland, Webb said: "Towel-heads and rednecks – of which I am one. If you write that word, please say that. I mean, I don’t use that pejoratively, I use it defensively. Towel-heads and rednecks became the easy villains in so many movies out there." Did someone step in Macaca? Not if the Post is judging.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post endorsed James Webb’s “independent-minded challenge” running as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate against Sen. George Allen. If ever an endorsement has seemed less necessary to identify a newspaper’s position on a federal election, I’m not sure what it is. To match the endorsement, Wednesday’s Post had a classic Webb-fanzine story on the front of the Metro section.
The Metro section article was titled “Webb Is Reluctant To Advertise Duty: Veteran Blasts Allen’s Public Comments.” In a typical display of utter shamelessness, Michael Shear and Tim Craig reported “Webb said it is improper to use military service in an overtly political way.” Webb’s quote: “I don’t think it’s right to use someone’s service directly for a political reason.” This article should have been laughed away from the Metro desk. Webb’s biography as a Vietnam veteran and eight-month Navy Secretary under Reagan has been his constant, everyday calling card in this race. The man with the motto "Born Fighting" on every bumper sticker and yard sign? Need we remind the Washington Post of the Webb campaign's first TV ad? It went like this:
When the Washington Post first opened its big can of "macaca" on Sen. George Allen, the story was presented as if it wasn’t an opposition-research ploy from the Democratic campaign of Jim Webb. The headline was "Allen Quip Provokes Outrage, Apology." But on Thursday, when the Allen campaign revealed a whopper on Webb, the Post headline was "Va. Senate Race Goes Negative on 1979 Essay." Both articles were written by Michael Shear and Tim Craig. Thursday’s story opened:
Virginia's U.S. Senate race turned nasty Wednesday as Republican Sen. George Allen launched a character attack on his Democratic opponent's past views toward women in combat, signaling the start of a two-month barrage of negative campaigning in what has become a close race.
The Washington Post is at it yet again. Almost a month after Sen. George Allen said "Macaca," it's back on the top of the front page of the Metro section again Sunday, with another happy-days-for-Democrats headline: "'Macaca Moment' Marks a Shift in Momentum: Allen's Gaffe, Demographic Changes Give Webb a Boost."
Reporter Michael D. Shear is clearly dedicated to making this nonsense word into the defining moment of Sen. Allen's entire political career:
Allen's "macaca moment" -- a term that has rapidly become part of America's political lexicon -- has breathed new life into Webb, a former Republican and Vietnam war hero who worked for Ronald Reagan.